The race for who will be named Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year has come down to two players: Patty Tavatanakit and Leona Maguire. But with Tavatanakit not in the field for this week’s BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea, Maguire has a chance to close a significant gap.
Tavatanakit, who won the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, took the top spot in the rookie-of-the-year standings with her maiden tour title and has further solidified her spot with eight more top-10 finishes.
But Maguire has found her form in the latter half of the season with five top-10s. She trails Tavatanakit by 360 points with three events remaining on the schedule.
The BMW Ladies Championship marks the beginning of the LPGA’s final stretch. Maguire is in the limited field, which has no cut. Rookies earn points, regardless of finish, with as many as 150 going to the winner. Maguire will need to finish sixth or better in Korea to give herself a chance of winning the award, otherwise, Tavatanakit will lock up ROY honors upon completion of the event. The Tour will play the two remaining events on the calendar in November in Florida, at the Pelican Championship and CME Group Tour Championship. Tavatanakit and Maguire are slated to compete in both events.
The pandemic limited playing opportunities in 2020, especially for rookies, which resulted in several changes. All rookies on the LPGA Tour in ‘20 had their status carry over for ‘21, which included Tavatanakit and Maguire. The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race was suspended in 2020.
Jeongeun Lee6 was the last player to receive the award, in 2019, when she became the fifth consecutive player from Korea to be named rookie of the year. Tavatanakit is from Thailand and Maguire from Ireland. The last non-Korean-born player to win the award was New Zealand’s Lydia Ko in 2014.